Brief blog search engine review

I have been trying a number of blog search engines recently.

I have subscribed to searches for the same terms in Technorati, Ice Rocket, PubSub and Sphere.

Sphere is the newest player on the blog search engine block, only coming out of beta last weekend. The search is adequate – I searched for “technorati blocked by China“, a story I broke here and was heavily linked to and quoted as a result, but my post on this is not found by Sphere. The searches I subscribed to using Sphere again didn’t return as many results as the other search engines and did contain some spam!

PubSub produced the lowest number of results of the four compared and often the results were late i.e. they were found by the other search engines much earlier (often days earlier).

Ice Rocket produced by far the most results of any of the search engines but those results were full of spam – finding the real information amongst the spam was difficult!

And Technorati was still the best of the four. Very timely results and very little spam.

It is always advisable to use more than one blog search engine for subscribed searches. In this scenario I would advise using Technorati and Sphere. Although Sphere doesn’t yet have as many results as the others, it does appear to be improving.

Also, I had an issue with Sphere earlier in the week so I contacted the CEO, Tony Conrad – he replied to my email and had Steve Nieker the CIO follow up – it is great to see companies getting directly in touch with their users in this way.

Ice Rocket needs to seriously address the spam problem it has and PubSub, I’m sorry to say, looks like it is no longer at the races.

11 thoughts on “Brief blog search engine review”

  1. Hi Tom:

    Eeek. I’m sorry that you had such a bad experience with our service. May I ask what your search query looked like (what were the keywords you used) and when you did your calculations (dates)? Also, which aggregator did you use to read the results? Of course, we strive to make PubSub work as best as humanly possible and your input means a great deal to us.


    Steven Cohen
    PubSub Concepts, Inc

  2. Steven,

    thanks for the speedy response – I’ll email you the keywords used.

    The news reader i use is NetNewsWire.

  3. Tom’s findings echo my own, except I haven’t heard of Sphere before.

    Technorati seems the best, and fastest, at the searches. Ice Rocket finds lots of spam, but also returns the same post time and again turning even once relevant posts into spam.

    PubSub seems a sleepy backwater, where what little news arrives has long since been overtaken by events.

    And, though Mr. Cohen’s response above is hopeful seeming, I seem to recall something similar being asked of Damien when he found PubSub useless, or words to that effect. I don’t know that it resulted in any great leaps forward.

  4. Hi Tom – thanks for your kind post. We haven’t totally solved your issue yet (something a little funky on our end) but I think we’re getting close to having it resolved.

    Also, have you used the sphere it bookmarklet when reading an article on the web and interested to see who is talking about the topic in the blogosphere – by far my favorite app. It’s based on a robust content semantic analysis tool that we use in our algorithm as well our related media links. Sphere it! is very different than Technorati This! (yes, they launched this after our release, complete with exclamation mark!)- we’re finding relevant matches to the article, not just links. This creates a much higher quality, more immediate results set. Here is an example:

    Go To Time – here is the current lead article on their home page (today at 11:20 am),8599,1192578,00.html

    Click on the Sphere it!

    Click on the Technorati This!

    Anyway, thanks again for the feedback. Please keep in dialogue with us.

  5. Simon: I’ve seen much improvement over the past couple of months on our end as far as the core service goes. My reasons for commenting on blogs that discuss PubSub is twofold:

    1) To make sure that bloggers know we’re listening, which I’ve found to be priceless as a long time blogger myself.

    2) To assist bloggers who haven’t had the best experience with our service.

    I can make all the promises in the world, but they fall flat when the service doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. We’re constantly working to improve the core service and it’s bloggers like yourself and Tom that help in telling us their experiences.

    So, what I mean to say is, Thanks!


  6. Google Blog Search works pretty well, in my opinion. I’ve tried Technorati and Sphere, but I’ve found Google’s to be the most helpful when I’m searching for a particular blog topic. It doesn’t have many nifty features, but I think its simplicity is its strength; search by relevance or date. Some spam, but it’s easy to sift through it, in my opinion.

  7. J.J.

    thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    To be honest, I also use Google’s Blog search for some searches (for the sake of completion) but I find it very inconsistent compared to the others. Sometimes it finds posts first but more often it fails to find posts altogether. Hence I left it out – I don’t think it is ready.

    I should have mentioned that in the post though – thanks for reminding me.

  8. From the first post above:
    >…but my post on this is not found by Sphere.

    Well, this (the current) post is now found at or near the top of the search results at Google and others, as I discovered while conducting some meta search tests for the keyword search engine review.

    Now isn’t that something in itself?

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